Have you ever thought about leaving life behind you to travel full-time? Maybe live in an RV and just drive around exploring the country? Well it isn’t always an easy decision and may take more than just having the desire. There are some characteristics that will be necessary if you are going to enjoy this lifestyle. So in this article I will give you some things to think about to help you decide if you have what it takes to live the full-time RV lifestyle.
If you have been following our adventure you know that we have been traveling and living in our RV full-time for a little over two years. There is a ton of stuff to learn about this lifestyle, in fact, we are still learning. It’s definitely not always easy. This is not a vacation, it’s our life.
Some people will adjust to this lifestyle more easily than others. It’s not a lifestyle choice that will work for everyone. Before you make the decision, do your research. Here are some things to consider when analyzing whether or not you have what it takes to live the full-time RV lifestyle.
Are You Adventurous?
If you are seriously considering the full-time RV lifestyle you probably have an adventurous streak. However, before even hitting the road, life will become an adventure. Downsizing, choosing the right RV, and preparing to leave behind the unknown is exciting, but can be a little overwhelming.
Once you’re on the road and living in your RV, you have to be ready for anything. We are always in unexplored territory (at least unexplored by us). The grocery stores, laundromats, and restaurants are all unknown to us. Moving around so much means the adventure never ends. For every place we go, we need a map because we don’t know where anything is. Some people are better suited to more stability and a regular schedule.
How do you feel about trying new things? In this lifestyle trying new things is a constant. This doesn’t just mean trying new foods or going to a new restaurant. It’s in everything because everywhere you go is somewhere new. The places you explore and the people you meet are all going to be new. Think about how you will feel always being the unfamiliar face. This part of the adventure might not appeal to all.
Can you be Flexible?
On your last vacation, did you make reservations and plan your schedule to a T? We have learned that in this lifestyle making reservations and planning too much or too far in advance is difficult. Being able to stay a few extras days or leave a day or two early, is part of what makes this lifestyle great.
Sometimes bad weather might prevent us from visiting a cool place or going on a hike we really want to do. So if we can, we stay a little longer. Occasionally the campground is really unpleasant and we decide to stay only a night or two instead of a week. This couldn’t happen if we had made reservations somewhere or had tickets to something already bought and paid for. These are just a few reasons you need to be flexible in this lifestyle.
If you like to make reservations and plan everything out, this way of life can get stressful. Having to be somewhere at a certain day and time can mean missing out on something really cool. If you are rushing from one place to the next, it can take the fun out of things quickly.
There are a lot of things that can happen on the road. Getting sick, unexpected RV or vehicle maintenance, weather, bad campground or neighbors, thesse are all things that make being flexible an important characteristic for anyone that wants to live the full-time RV lifestyle. So the less you need to make solid plans the better off you will be in this way of life.
This day just got very #expensive! Our # brakes are much worse than we expected. It is probably going to cost #tripletheprice originally quoted. 😢This is a very #sadday. Think #goodthoughts for us #friends. #reallife #money #notgood #unfortunate #travellife #brakejob #statebystateadventure #statebystatetravel #badday #thinkpositive
This might be one of the most difficult parts about this lifestyle. Being a great team, though, is so important. Even if you are traveling solo, team work comes into play. Everyone needs help sometimes. Helping out fellow campers or asking for help (which you will need sometimes) from strangers will happen at some point.
My husband and I have always worked well together, but this lifestyle has challenged us to become even better at team work. Getting chores done, taking care of the kids, finding our next campsite, preparing meals, working, and deciding what cool things we are going to do are all things that we have to do together. We also get the kids involved because they are part of the team too.
There are some tricks we use to make working together easier. One thing we find that makes setting up our RV easier is using walkie talkies to get it backed in. This prevents having to yell back and forth and no one is frustrated or angry by the time the job is done. Being a great team is easier said than done, it takes work, but is totally necessary for this lifestyle.
Be Self Motivated
Most people that have what it takes to live the full-time RV lifestyle will be self motivated. This is because many of us are our own boss. Also, you won’t have anyone to tell you where to go next, where to stay or what work needs to be done.
Having the ability to work and play responsibly can be tough. If you don’t have a boss telling you when to work or what work to do, and there are so many cool adventures out there waiting, it can be challenging to balance what needs to be done and when. There is no schedule, but the one you set for yourself.
As I write this article I can’t help but think of all the cool things out there that I am missing. However, I hope that by writing this I will be helping someone in making this difficult decision. I have to use this as motivation to keep myself on task. No one tells me what to write or when to write, I just have to do it.
This is another place where team work comes into play. We help to keep each other motivated, but also from working too hard. It is a delicate balance and if we weren’t able to work together or motivate ourselves, things would never get accomplished.
Can you Deal With Organized Craziness?
Anyone who lives or has lived in a small space can probably understand organized craziness. By this I mean that in a small space you absolutely have to be organized. Store things in bins with lids whenever possible. Everything has to have a home. A place to belong.
What about the craziness part you may ask? Well, when your counter space, table space, and floor space is extremely limited, it won’t matter how organized you are, craziness ensues. Perhaps this happens more so when you have children, but for everything that gets put away in it’s place, another thing (or two, or three) gets brought out.
Sometimes it feels like we just move things back and forth between the table, the bed, and the counter, but it’s OK. We make it work. This often seems crazy because we have so little and everything belongs somewhere, but it happens. If you are not the type of person that can be comfortable with organized craziness this lifestyle might be difficult.
Are you Adaptable?
Quickly being able to adapt to a new environment is an essential characteristic needed to live this lifestyle. When you are constantly moving your home you have to adapt to a new place regularly. This means new scenery, surroundings, and neighbors just to name a few.
If you get somewhere and it’s closed, can you easily turnaround and find somewhere else to go or will you be distraught and upset? When things break, do you immediately start thinking of ways to fix it or are you stressing out about it? We have shown up at campgrounds that end up being closed for no apparent reason. The state capitol building in New Jersey was under renovation when we showed up for our tour. Things happen that you won’t be able to plan for. Can you adapt?
Are you a Do-It-Yourself Kinda Person?
An RV is a vehicle and a house all mixed into one. If you have ever had either, you know that they are both constantly in need of repairs. The more things you are able to do yourself the better off you will be. Fixing things on your own will save you time and money.
Trying to figure out how to take your house to a shop for repairs can be challenging. Just getting new tires put on our RV took some forward thinking to accomplish. Luckily we haven’t had to deal with any major repairs so far, but this is something to keep in mind when thinking about this lifestyle because things will break.
Regular maintenance is also necessary, just like a car needs the oil changed, an RV needs regular maintenance as well. It would get very expensive if you had to hire someone to do these things. This would also take up a lot of time if you are always having to wait around for a repair guy to show up. The do-it-yourselfer is definitely going to fare better in this lifestyle.
So Do You Have What it Takes to Live the Full-Time RV Lifestyle?
This lifestyle is not for everyone. Taking the leap to full-time RV living is a big decision, especially if you have kids. It literally took us several years of planning, but we have not regretted our decision. The characteristics listed here are only a part of what to consider when making your decision.
It is hard to imagine the things that can go wrong because we all want to think about the good times and great memories we will make. Things do go wrong, however, and you need to think about how you will deal with it when they do. There might not be friends or family nearby for support. You might be in the middle of nowhere. The possibilities are endless.
Traveling is awesome and we have made some great memories. If we were not able to work together, motivate ourselves, and fix things on our own, it would make this lifestyle very challenging. We all want to believe we have what it takes to do anything, but be honest with yourself before making your final decision.
One last thing to think about is bugs. Yes, bugs. They are always around. If you are at all squeamish when it comes to bugs, this may not be the life for you. They will be everywhere, inside, outside, the car, near the fire, and in your face. Just letting you know.
But is it worth it?
We think so. Here is a slide show of our first year on the road. These memories are priceless!